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Are you using your LinkedIn summary to your best advantage?

Submitted Friday, October 10th 2014 9:59 am

When completing or updating the summary area of your LinkedIn profile, using your resume summary as a basis or to refer to can be helpful in getting started. What’s important to keep in mind, though, is that a LinkedIn summary is a chance to go beyond the relatively narrower scope of a resume summary, which is normally targeting a job opportunity or specific career direction, in generating interest in one’s skills and experiences and in building a network of connections.

Because of LinkedIn’s inherent search and networking capabilities, a LinkedIn summary may be viewed by a potentially wider range of individuals than a resume, such as co-workers, friends or people in the same industry looking to make a connection, as well as by recruiters and potential employers.

In addition, a LinkedIn summary with its 2,000-character limit provides individuals with an opportunity to include more information about themselves than a resume summary, such as key skills, accomplishments, interests and values. As a result, there is an opportunity in a LinkedIn summary to be more expansive and conversational in general, compared to the clipped, abbreviated style of a resume summary. 

While in one sense a resume summary has no character limit, a job candidate with a summary exceeding 6-8 lines of text runs the risk of not having it read, as many hiring managers and recruiters today are spending mere seconds reading a resume.

When crafting your LinkedIn summary, here are a few things to keep in mind to maximize its impact:

Emphasize points of differentiation – mention those things that you do better than most or that allow you to stand out from others in your field.

Note key accomplishments – include some of your most notable achievements to help make you more memorable to readers.

Quantify where you can – use facts, figures and stats to underscore the value you bring and increase your impact on readers.

Include external validation – add awards or honors, which is one more way to strengthen the impact of your summary.

Provide contact info – if making it easy for others to connect with you is a priority, consider including your email address and phone number.

With a LinkedIn summary, you have an opportunity to go beyond the confines of a resume summary to create a compelling picture of who you are as well as a powerful personal branding tool. Use it to your full advantage so, again, you can generate interest and make connections in growing your network.